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Medical News & Updates


For the first time, vaccine shows protection against gonorrhea
Tuesday, 7th August 2018
Researchers say a vaccine, originally developed to protect against a strain of meningitis, has been shown to ward off gonorrhea - a sexually transmitted infection.

The findings mark the first time a vaccine has shown any protection against gonorrhea and point to new avenues in the search for a specific vaccine to stop the global spread of 'super-gonorrhea'.

For their study, the researchers at the University of Auckland used data from 11 sexual health clinics for all people aged 15 to 30 who had been diagnosed with gonorrhea or chlamydia, or both, and who had also been eligible to be immunised against meningitis in the 2004-2006 campaign.

They found that those who had been vaccinated were significantly less likely to have gonorrhea.

According to they study, people who had received who had received the meningococcal B vaccine were 31 percent less likely to be infected with gonorrhea than those who hadn't received the MeNZB vaccine.

"This new research could be game-changing," said Linda Glennie, an expert at the Meningitis Research Foundation who was not directly involved in the study.

The findings "provide experimental evidence and a proof of principle" that meningitis vaccines might offer moderate cross-protection against gonorrhea," Helen Petousis-Harris, who co-led the study at the University of Auckland, said."Our findings could inform future vaccine development for both the meningococcal and gonorrhea vaccines," she added.

Despite the diseases being very different in symptoms and transmission modes, she added, the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Neisseria meningitidis have an up to 90 percent genetic match, providing a biologically plausible mechanism.

Yet so far, efforts to develop a gonorrhea vaccine have yielded disappointing results: Four potential shots have reached the clinical trial stage, but none has been effective.

Gonorrhea has become an increasingly urgent global health problem in recent years as it is getting much harder and sometimes impossible to treat due to antibiotic resistance.

Because of this, the World Health Organization includes gonorrhea in its list of bacteria that pose the greatest threat to human health.

Each year, an estimated 78 million people are infected with gonorrhoea which can infect the genitals, rectum, and throat.

Complications of gonorrhoea disproportionally affect women, including pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility, as well as an increased risk of HIV.

The WHO said safer sexual behaviour, in particular consistent and correct condom use, can help prevent gonorrhoea.

The new findings have been published in The Lancet medical journal on Tuesday.
Common disinfectant may cause antibiotic resistance: Study
Tuesday, 7th August 2018
Triclosan, a common disinfectant present in household products such as body washes may make bacteria resistant to antibiotics, a study published today suggests.

Scientists from the University of Birmingham in the UK and colleagues have discovered a link between a major mechanism of antibiotic resistance and resistance to triclosan.

They found that bacteria which mutated to become resistant to quinolone antibiotics also became more resistant to triclosan.

The researchers showed that the quinolone-resistance mutation altered the way the bacteria package their DNA inside a cell and that these mutants had also turned on various self-defence mechanisms - together these gave triclosan resistance.

Quinolone antibiotics are an important and powerful group of human medicines, and this new discovery raises concerns that the use of triclosan can give antimicrobial resistance.

"We think that bacteria are tricked into thinking they are always under attack and are then primed to deal with other threats including triclosan," said Mark Webber, Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham."The worry is that this might happen in reverse and triclosan exposure might encourage growth of antibiotic resistant strains," said Webber, corresponding author of the study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy."We found this can happen in E coli. As we run out of effective drugs, understanding how antibiotic resistance can happen and under what conditions is crucial to stopping selection of more resistant bacteria," he said.

Triclosan has been the cause for some concern which has led to a ban across the EU and US in its use in hygiene products (hand, skin and body washes), researchers said.

Many other antimicrobial agents are, however, still used in these products, they said.
Diabetes and sleep apnoea may lead to vision loss: Study
Tuesday, 7th August 2018
Patients who suffer from both Type 2 diabetes and obstructive sleep apnoea are at greater risk of losing their vision within a period of four years, a study has found.

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a condition where the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep, resulting in snoring and interrupting breathing, and it is common in patients with Type 2 diabetes.

Meanwhile, diabetic retinopathy - the most common form of diabetic eye disease - affects between 40 and 50 per cent of patients with diabetes and is a leading cause of blindness in the western world.

Previous studies have shown a link between OSA and diabetic retinopathy.

However, there had been no published studies assessing the impact of OSA on the progression of diabetic retinopathy in patients with Type 2 diabetes.

"Despite improvements in glucose, blood pressure and lipid levels, diabetic retinopathy remains very common," said Abd Tahrani from the University of Birmingham in the UK."Meanwhile, OSA has been shown to be very common in patients with Type 2 diabetes, which is not surprising considering that excess weight contributes to the development of both of these conditions," said Tahrani."However, most patients who have OSA are not aware that they have the condition and the disease could go undiagnosed for years," he said."We have shown that patients with OSA and Type 2 diabetes, compared to those with diabetes only, are at increased risk of developing advanced diabetic retinopathy over a period of three years and seven months," he added.

The study was carried out at two diabetes clinics and involved 230 patients with Type 2 diabetes.

The patients were assessed for diabetic retinopathy using specialist retinal imaging, while OSA was assessed using a home-based, multi-channel cardio-respiratory portable device.

The results showed that diabetic retinopathy prevalence was higher in patients with OSA (42.9 per cent) compared to those without OSA (24.1 per cent).

The study found that at a follow-up appointment, on average 43 months later, the patients with OSA (18.4 per cent) were more likely to develop moderate to severe diabetic retinopathy compared to those without OSA (6.1 per cent).

It also showed that patients who received treatment for OSA using a machine connected to a face mask that delivers pressure to prevent the blockage of the airways during sleep had a lower risk of developing advanced diabetic retinopathy compared to patients who did not receive the treatment.

"We can conclude from this study that OSA is an independent predictor for the progression to moderate or severe diabetic retinopathy in patients with Type 2 diabetes," said Tahrani.

The study was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
Eating oranges, grapefruit daily can reduce risk of dementia among the elderly: Study
Tuesday, 7th August 2018
Older adults who consume orange and grapefruit every day can lower the risk of dementia by 23%, finds a study.

Researchers from Tohuku University in Japan have found that daily intake of any citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons or limes can cut the chances of developing the incurable brain condition by almost a quarter.

The findings suggested that the citric acid contains a chemical nobiletin, which in animal tests has shown to slow or reverse impairment of memory. The team analysed more than 13,000 older adults for up to seven years to see how many developed dementia.

Rates of dementia among those eating citrus fruits at least once a day were significantly lower than in volunteers having them less than twice a week.

"Some biological studies have indicated citrus may have preventive effects against cognitive impairment," the researchers stated."But no study has examined the relation between citrus consumption and rates of dementia. Our findings suggest frequent consumption is linked with a lower risk of dementia," they concluded.
Consuming raw fruit, veggies boosts mental health: Study
Tuesday, 7th August 2018
A new study has found that eating raw fruit and vegetables such as kiwis, bananas, apples and dark leafy greens may lower symptoms of depression and improve mental health, more than cooked, canned and processed food.

Consuming raw fruits and vegetables leads to lower levels of mental illness symptomology, such as depression, as per the findings. It also improved levels of psychological well-being including a positive mood and life satisfaction.

Lead author Tamlin Conner, senior lecturer at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand said, "Our research has highlighted that the consumption of fruit and vegetables in their 'unmodified' state is more strongly associated with better mental health compared to cooked/canned/processed fruit and vegetables."

Conner said, when the fruits and vegetables are cooked, canned and processed, they lose their mental health benefits as the process potentially diminishes the nutrient levels.

"Cooking and processing likely limits the delivery of nutrients that are essential for optimal emotional functioning," Conner added.

For the study more than 400 young adults from New Zealand and the US aged 18 to 25 years were surveyed.

Conner says public health campaigns have historically focused on aspects of quantity for the consumption of fruit and vegetables (such as 5+ a day).

However, the new study found that for mental health in particular, it may also be important to consider the way in which produce was prepared and consumed.

"This research is increasingly vital as lifestyle approaches such as dietary change may provide an accessible, safe and adjuvant approach to improving mental health," Conner said.

The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.
Obesity may put children at increased risk of hip disease, suggests study
Tuesday, 7th August 2018
A new research suggests that obesity in chilhood may put kids at increased risk of hip disease.

Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE) is the most common hip disease of adolescence. The condition always requires surgery, can cause significant pain, and often leads to a hip replacement in adolescence or early adulthood.

"Ultimately this study helps us to better understand one of the main diseases affecting the hip in childhood," said one of the study authors Daniel Perry from the Institute of Translational Medicine, University of Liverpool in Britain.

Children with a SCFE experience a decrease in their range of motion, and are often unable to complete hip flexion or fully rotate the hip inward.

Early recognition of SCFE is important as the deformity may worsen if the slip remains untreated.

In an effort to identify children at higher risk of this condition, the researchers examined hospital and community based records to explore factors associated with SCFE, and explanations for diagnostic delays.

All of the records examined were of individuals under 16-years-of-age with a diagnosis of SCFE and whose electronic medical record was held by one of 650 primary care practices in Britain between 1990 and 2013.

Using the height and weight of children recorded in the notes at some point before the disease was diagnosed, the researchers were able to identify that obese children appear at highest risk of this condition, according to the study published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.

"This is the best evidence available linking this disease to childhood obesity -- which makes this condition to be one of the only obesity-related disease that can cause life-long morbidity starting in childhood," Perry said.
Using e-cigarettes can harm your liver, says study

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